Cleveland Browns' Josh Gordon Denies Addiction In Interview

By McCarton Ackerman 10/02/14

Despite several failed drug tests and a year-long suspension, the Pro Bowl wide receiver continues to deny that he has a problem.

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Despite facing a year-long suspension from the NFL over numerous drug violations, Cleveland Browns star Josh Gordon continues to deny he has a drug problem.

After testing positive for THC this past March, Gordon’s second failed drug test, he was suspended last August for the 2014-15 NFL season because he was in Stage 3 of the league’s substance abuse policy program. New changes to the league’s drug policy mean that he will now be eligible to return on Nov. 23, but Gordon still believes he is a victim of negative media attention.

“I wouldn’t know what I was addicted to because I don’t do anything,” he said in a new interview with ESPN The Magazine. "[The media] want to create this monster. Every story about me seems so harsh. He's an addict, a junkie, a cokehead. That's not who you really are."

Although he denies ever smoking pot since joining the NFL and said his positive tests are the result of secondhand smoke, he still surrounds himself with people who use marijuana because “everyone I know does it.”

Gordon claims that previous drug violations for marijuana as a 17-year-old and while playing college football at Baylor University meant that he was immediately placed in Stage 2 of the NFL’s substance abuse policy program as a rookie. Last July, he was arrested for DWI and entered rehab shortly afterwards in California. Gordon pleaded guilty to the charge last month.

His unwillingness to admit to a drug problem has left some of his associates in the NFL concerned. Hall of Fame receiver and ESPN analyst Cris Carter, who has now been sober for over two decades, even declined a request from Gordon’s camp to serve as a mentor because of his denial. “I don’t believe he’s fully out of the woods. I’m afraid for him,” said Carter. “I’m afraid for his career.”

However, any further marijuana violations from Gordon can no longer be blamed on secondhand smoke. The NFL’s revamped drug policy made 35 nanograms per milliliter in a urine sample the new threshold for a positive marijuana test, up from 15 nanograms. Players in Stage 3 of the league’s substance abuse policy can also be discharged from it within 24 months, compared to the career-long status that the policy used to hold.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.